18 Things Everyone Does at Work (But Won’t Say Out Loud)

There are some things that everyone does at work, yet none of us admit to doing them. Instead, we sit suspicious, curious as to whether we are all doing these things. If you’ve ever wondered about this, read on, as we’re revealing the 18 things everyone does at work but won’t say out loud.


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No one wants to openly admit to being lazy, but it happens to the best of us. Repeating the same tasks at work every day becomes monotonous, so it should be no surprise that Solving Procrastination finds that 75% of us consider ourselves procrastinators!

Extended toilet breaks

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Ever wonder why someone else takes so long in the bathroom? C’mon, we are all guilty of taking extended toilet breaks. Those bathroom breaks add up to help the workday pass a bit quicker, whether it’s scrolling social media or just taking a moment to breathe.

Scheduling emails

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Scheduling emails is normal practice in the office, used with the best intentions to reach out to a client at a convenient time. However, let’s not lie–most of us use it as an avoidance tactic. Scheduling an email means avoiding confrontation until the next day, allowing the dust to settle.

Gossiping over email

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We’ve all emailed our workmates some juicy gossip across the room and waited for their reaction. Sometimes it’s hard to wait to gossip, and email is the best way to rant. It is also a great form of entertainment that distracts us from the workday, but get caught, and you could be in serious trouble!

Scheduling fake meetings

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Sometimes, we just need a breather, and nothing says ‘do not disturb’ like a meeting. Fake meetings are always in the diary, and if we’re caught out, we just say that the other party canceled at the last minute. It’s a classic tactic that, in moderation, almost every office worker practices.

Zoning out

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Ever in a meeting and suddenly realize you have completely checked out? It happens–if we’re not engaged, we just stop paying attention without even realizing we’re doing it, especially in virtual meetings. In fact, Forbes discovered that 80% of people owned up to zoning out on an important conference call!

Pretending you were listening

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So, you zoned out and then comes the awkward moment when you’re asked a question. You have no idea what the discussion was, but you’ll never say we weren’t concentrating! Rather than admit your mistake, you just uncomfortably try to answer the question. It’s cringe-inducing, but we’ve all been there!


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Are you taking notes in meetings or just doodling? It can look like we’re actively engaged and aggressively taking notes, but in reality, there are little doodles in every corner of the page. Some meetings can be a drag, so what better way to pass the time than with some passive creativity?

The fake phone calls

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We’re all guilty of the fake phone call. Pretending to chat and be fully invested in a phone call is a strong way to convince people you are extremely busy. Best of all, you can avoid the small talk and make your boss think you’re busy at the same time.

Attempting to fix the printer

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Arguably one of the peskiest forms of technology, printers break on a regular basis. While frustrating, this is a great opportunity for procrastination that many of us do at work. Rather than seeking help, we’ll just press buttons, remove ink cartridges, and generally pretend to know what we are doing to kill some time.

Casual dress for video calls

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Who really goes all out in the fashion department for a video call? When we’re working from home, it’s usually business on the top and casual on the bottom. Your colleagues will only ever see the top half of you, so as long as you look presentable there, who cares if you’re wearing sweatpants?

Calling in sick

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Sometimes, we just need a day off, and we will make up any excuse as to why we can’t. This is normal, and this normality is illustrated perfectly by Moneypenny‘s study, which found that 50% of Americans will happily fake an illness for a day off work.

Checking social media

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Company policy usually demands a phone-free environment, but we’ll still have a sneaky scroll through social media under the desk. Only the most disciplined of us play by this rule, and most of us find a way to secretly check our phones regularly throughout the day.

Delaying a lunch break

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There is nothing more satisfying than delaying your lunch break, allowing you to eventually return from lunch with just an hour left of the working day. We’ve never felt too guilty about this one, as everyone gets the afternoon slump, and having a later lunch break is a great way to tackle this.

Eyeing up everyone else’s lunch

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Checking out what everyone has brought in for lunch is a quick way to feel disappointed in our own cooking. This is normal, but some people go too far and engage in food theft! We can’t say we’ve ever engaged in this evil behavior, but people clearly do it.

Clock watching

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Even if we love our jobs, clock-watching is part of the workplace experience. Whether you can’t wait for the weekend or it has just been a long day, we all count down the minutes until we can clock off. Will we say out loud that we don’t want to be there? Probably not.

Check out job ads

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When one minor inconvenience happens in the workplace, we’re straight on the computer looking at job ads—it’s an outrageous but classic move. Even if we’re happily employed, it is still good to know our options, and it’s a great way to encourage your boss to improve things around the workplace.

Break the rules

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Last but not least, some rules are made to be broken, and when we get comfortable in the workplace, we find ways of bending the rules. Amazingly, Harvard Business Review found that this is actually a good thing, stating that those rulebreakers tend to have lower levels of emotional exhaustion.

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